BLOOMINGTON, Ind. --
The Hoosier baseball team travels to East Lansing, Mich., to face the Michigan State Spartans in a four-game series, beginning on Saturday, May 8, at 1 p.m. at Kobs Field. Sunday's doubleheader is scheduled for a 1 p.m. start and a single game on Monday is at 1 p.m. as well. The weekend was adjusted from the normal Friday, Saturday and Sunday format to accommodate final exams at both schools.
Indiana will look to get back on the winning track after suffering a sweep to Ohio State last weekend in Bloomington. The Hoosiers' record stands at 23-21 overall and 7-13 in Big Ten Conference. IU is tied for eighth in the latest Big Ten standings with Illinois and Iowa.
Michigan State owns a 23-29 record in all games and a 10-10 mark in conference play, which puts the Spartans tied for fifth in the Big Ten race. Ohio State, Penn State and Minnesota sit in a three-way tie for first with 13-7 records.
Following this weekend's series at Michigan State, Indiana has two Big Ten Conference series remaining on the schedule. IU plays host to Michigan, May 14-16, at Sembower Field, before hitting the road for its regular season finale at Purdue, May 21-23.
Probable Pitching Rotations
Michigan State's projected list of starting pitchers for this weekend are:
Sat.: John Dwan (LHP, 3-0, 5.01 ERA)
Sun. (1): Chris Toepper (RHP, 2-2, 5.06 ERA)
Sun. (2): Clay Kovac (RHP, 1-1, 5.21 ERA)
Mon.: Bryan Gale (RHP, 3-3, 3.47 ERA)*
*Gale is questionable for the series
Indiana's projected list of starting pitchers for this weekend are:
Sat. Nick Vitielliss (RHP, 4-3, 5.55 ERA)
Sun. (1): Adam Pegg (RHP, 3-2, 3.67 ERA)
Sun.: (2): Josh Lewis (RHP, 3-6, 5.76 ERA)
Mon.: Chris Behrens (LHP, 0-3, 5.34)
Scouting the Spartans
Michigan State comes into the weekend with a 23-20 record overall and 10-10 mark in Big Ten play. The Spartans are locked in fifth-place in the Big Ten standings with Purdue. On their home turf at Kobs Field, the Spartans own an impressive 15-4 record.
Michigan State owns a .297 team batting average, and has scored 281 runs while giving up 281.
Third baseman James Moreno paces the MSU offense with a .366 batting average, which ranks eighth among conference hitters, nine home runs and 37 RBI. Travis Gulick is second on the club with a .346 average and has hit a team-high 15 doubles this season to go with eight home runs. Six Michigan State players boast batting averages over the .300 mark.
On the mound, the Spartan pitching staff has compiled a 5.83 ERA, which ranks last among conference teams in games overall. In Big Ten play, Michigan State is fifth at 4.90.
Bryan Gale, who is listed as questionable for a start on Monday, ranks third among Big Ten hurlers with 75 strikeouts. Gale set the MSU career record in that category earlier this season. Gale sports a 3.47 ERA and has a 3-3 record in 70.0 innings pitched.
The All-Time Series With Michigan State
In the all-time series between the two schools, Michigan State leads 78-61-0. MSU has won six of the last 10 meetings as well. In 2003, the Hoosiers and Spartans split a four-game series in Bloomington. IU won the first game, 4-2, on April 11. Michigan State took game one of a doubleheader on April 12, 6-1, but the Hoosiers battled back to win the nightcap, 6-5. The Spartans won the finale, 8-5, on April 13.
Strength is in the Offense
The offense continues to be the strength of this IU team. Senior shortstop Seth Bynum ranks second in the Big Ten Conference with a .401 batting average this week, just three points off Minnesota outfielder Sam Steidl's .404 average. Senior outfielder/DH Ryan Donley ranks second in conference play with a .424 average. Sophomore centerfielder Reggie Watson has stolen a conference-leading 19 bases. As a team, the Hoosiers are hitting .307 overall, tied for third among Big Ten teams. In league games only, Indiana is third with a .307 average as well.
Seth Bynum leads Indiana and ranks second in the Big Ten (in all games) with a .401 batting average, 65 hits and 45 runs scored. Bynum's 101 total bases and 52 RBI are tops among league players. Kevin Mahar ranks second on the team with a .345 batting average an paces IU and the Big Ten with 12 home runs this season.
In conference play, Ryan Donley paces the offensive attack with a .424 batting average and a .606 slugging percentage, while Bynum is second with a .356 batting average. Reggie Watson sports a .351 average against conference opposition.
Senior Adam Pegg, who has pitched mostly in long relief, but is scheduled to start game two at MSU, leads the pitching staff with a 3.67 ERA, a 3-2 record and three saves. Pegg has pitched 49.0 innings and has produced an opponent-low batting average of .258.
Senior Nick Vitielliss is next with a 4-3 record and a 5.55 ERA. Vitielliss has pitched a team-high 58.1 innings and walked just 11 batters against 35 strikeouts.
The Hoosiers own a staff ERA of 5.09 in all games and a 6.29 ERA in Big Ten Conference games.
The Hoosiers have scored 61 runs in the third inning this season, the most of any frame. By contrast, IU has scored just nine runs in the ninth inning, the fewest of any inning.
Indiana has given up the most runs in the fourth, allowing a total of 56 in the inning this season. The Hoosiers have held opponents to just 14 runs in the eighth inning.
Former Hoosier DeVore Makes MLB Debut
Former Hoosier baseball player Doug DeVore made his Major League Baseball Debut with the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday.
Devore was called up from the Triple-A Tucson Sidewinders on April 30. First baseman Richie Sexson was placed on the 15-day disabled list, and DeVore was selected to fill his roster spot. DeVore saw his first Major League action when he was inserted to pinch-hit against the Chicago Cubs on May 6.
Prior to his call-up, DeVore was hitting .305 for the Sidewinders. The Dublin, Ohio, native played at Indiana from 1997-99. He was a first-team All-Big Ten selection as an outfielder in 1999, and finished his career with a .322 batting average.
Team Speed A Strength
The Hoosiers have successfully stolen 69 bases in 84 attempts in 44 games this season, a success rate of nearly 82 percent. With 12 games remaining on its regular season schedule, IU closing in on matching its total from 2003, 76 in 56 games. Twelve different players have at least one stolen base on their stat line.
Big Ten's Best Base-Stealers
Reggie Watson and Seth Bynum rank at the top of the Big Ten Conference in stolen bases. Watson is first with 19 in 23 attempts, and Bynum ranks second with18 steals in 20 attempts. Watson also leads the league with nine in Big Ten games.
Watson's 19 steals are the most by a Hoosier since Kennard Jones, who is currently in the San Diego Padres organization, had 22 during the 2002 season.